Student Research Projects

Research in Developmental Biology

Student Suzanne Lazarowitz, Kathleen Mabry, Christina Smith
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 384: Developmental Biology


The Developmental Biology class conducted 3 major research projects and presented their findings at the fall NS&M research symposium. The class worked together on these projects, but individual students presented a different project.

The purpose of the first study was to compare tadpoles living in clean deionized water with those living in water containing the hormone booster, Thyroxine (C15H11I4NO4). Thirty two (32) tadpoles were evenly distributed among control and thyroxine treatments and were measured over a 14 day trial period. Tadpoles in thyroxine treatments had developed legs by the second week while control tadpoles had no signs of leg development. Tadpoles in thyroxine also died more frequently, leading us to believe the increase in metabolism is fatal. Thyroxine does increase the rate of metabolism and metamorphosis in Rana catesbeiana.

For the second study, painted lady butterflies in the larval stage were used to examine this process and the duration of metamorphosis. The larvae were fed and allowed to undergo chrysalization and then metamorphosis and emerge as mature adults. Through the four stages of the painted lady life cycle, the development and processes associated with metamorphosis are now understood.

For the third investigation, the behavior of a slime mold (Dictyostelium discoideum) was examined in relation to various chemical, behavioral, and disruptive stimulations. The removal of the sori of the fruiting bodies did end up supporting the hypothesis that the stalks would disaggregate, but not for the originally supposed reason. It was thought that the stalks would remain standing when the sori were removed, but the delicate covering of the stalk basically fell apart and it disaggregated instantly. The no food manipulation did not support our hypothesis that the slime mold would not complete the life cycle without the addition of food. The chemical manipulation showed that the slugs did not tend to move past the circles of ammonium.